Vegetables to grow in the Shade

We all have that one spot in our garden or on our property that just doesn’t get the right amount of sun to grow tomatoes and other sun loving vegetables. Here I’m going to show you five vegetables that you can grow in your part sun or or shade garden. These vegetables should grow well for you in the shade!

Keep in mind it is pretty rare to find anything that will grow without any sunlight during the day, so don’t try to plant these directly under a big tree. They will do well with just a few hours of sunlight, which isn’t normal for most vegetables.

If you are planting in the shade, it is important to ensure your soil is strong and full of nutrients, that you fertilize well throughout the garden season and don’t over water or you’ll encourage mold and rot.

lettuce is a great shade plant


Lettuce is in its happy place in a shade or part shade vegetable garden. In fact, most lettuce will not do well in full, hot sun. A bright, hot garden area will cause lettuce to bolt (go to seed) and then it will not taste as sweet. Lettuce that is grown in part shade is sweet tasting and should thrive all season long.

Lettuce is a great plant to add to your shade garden as in addition to its ability to grow in the shade, it also doesn’t need much soil to grow as it has a fairly shallow root structure. You can plant lettuce directly from seed into your garden space, but I do find that they sprout a little easier with a bit of sun and spring warmth. Because of this, you may be better off starting your lettuce inside and transplanting it to the garden after it is more established.

However, in the effort of experimenting in the garden, I would encourage you to try planting both ways and see what works best! Plant lettuce in your shade garden and be rewarded with sweet tasting leaves all summer long.



Another easy to grow vegetable that will reward you for planting it in the shade is spinach. Like lettuce, if you plant it in the hot sun, it will quickly go to seed at the expense of its flavor. The other good thing about spinach is that it is cold hardy, so you can easily plant it in the spring and even start another batch later in the fall when temperatures are cooler and days are shorter.

Spinach grows fast and well in the shade so plant successive plantings every couple of weeks apart for fresh vegetables all summer long. You can start spinach seeds inside as well and then transplant them into your shade space, but I find they do just as well planted into the cool earth in the spring.

If you plant spinach in a part sun location you will have an abundance of it so remember that it can be frozen and preserved for use in soups and stews over the winter.

swiss chard grow in the shade

Swiss Chard

If you are growing vegetables in the shade, you will be sure to get your leafy green vegetable intake in! Swiss chard is another wonderful vegetable that grows well in the part sun garden. It is a prolific producer of vibrant green foliage and you can purchase seeds that will grow rainbow swiss chard in a variety of colors.

Swiss chard will also grow well in full sun locations, it doesn’t bolt like the other two options above, but it will still grow for you in a part sun garden. It prefers a moist, rich soil and you should fertilize every couple of weeks through the summer. This plant will produce a continuous harvest of colored leaves, so feel free to cut a few off of each plant to enjoy sauteed up for supper or chopped into a salad. You do not have to harvest the entire plant each time you want to use it, meaning you can enjoy this healthy vegetable daily!

green onions

Green Onion

Green onions are a wonderful addition to any garden, including your shade garden. This little plants are so resilient you can plant them with their roots in a cup of water, or a small pot, or directly into the ground.

The nice thing about green onions is that you can use them in so many different ways. Feel free to cut a few of the green stalks off to chop up and put in your scrambled egg, or harvest the entire plant to use in a recipe. They rarely are bothered by bugs, they take up very little space and they add so much instant flavor to your recipes.

In addition to being easy to grow, you can make new plantings all summer long. After you harvest an onion, pop another one in the soil and watch it grow quickly for you.

broccoli plant


For something different for your shade vegetable garden, try planting some broccoli! This bright green vegetable will produce one head of broccoli per plant and will happily grow in just a couple hours of sun a day. It might even do better in cool, damp location than it would in your full sun location.

Give your plants a head start by starting your seeds indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost. Broccoli plants transplant well and don’t mind being out in the cooler spring weather.

Like the other plants that are good for the shade, be sure to fertilize throughout the summer. Keep in mind that a broccoli plant will take up a fair amount of space in your garden, so be sure to give them room. You could even grow a single broccoli plant in a pot! For more in depth instructions on growing broccoli, check out this post from Harvest to Table.

vegetable garden

Growing vegetables in the shade means you get to enjoy some delicious, healthy food from a space that you might not normally consider! What are your favorite vegetables to grow in the garden

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